Collaboration Through Shared Understanding in Early Design Stage

Danilo Gomes1, Patricia Tzortzopoulos2 & Mike Kagioglou3

1PhD candidate in Architecture, University of Huddersfield, UK, [email protected]
2Professor, Head of Department for Architecture and 3D Design, University of Huddersfield, UK, [email protected]
3Professor, Dean, School of Art Design and Architecture, University of Huddersfield, UK, [email protected]


The complexity of the collaborative design process is related to the nature of the product and the processes, and also involves the social interplay that ultimately generates design. This fundamentally, affects the way people work, in the purposeful action of designing together. Low levels of collaboration are identified especially at early design stages, where the collective design creation is hindered by the lack of ability of the team to build shared understanding, embracing a multitude of expertise in the task. In this context, the research focused on how the concept of shared understanding can potentially support better collaboration at early design stages. This is based on a deeper understanding of collaborative design as a dynamic system of social interplay, in which the process to build shared understanding for concerted actions can be described as a system that combines mediated coupling and coordinated perception, in a context where division of labour exist. Based on a literature review, lean approaches that claim to support shared understanding between project participants are investigated. This paper contributes in discussing how shared understanding, as a process, can be the basis of the collaborative act, and how components of this process can be addressed through lean approaches.


Early design, Collaboration, Shared Understanding, Social Dynamic, Complexity



Gomes, D. , Tzortzopoulos, P. & Kagioglou, M. 2016. Collaboration Through Shared Understanding in Early Design Stage, 24th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , -.

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